Sources de l'Yonne (2006-7)


The view from the source of the Yonne across to the oppidum of Mont Beuvray, both two large settlements very close together in the Morvan hills.Mont Beuvray (Bibract) was the principal Iron Age town of the Aedui, located in the Morvan hills in Burgundy. In the Augustan period it became a significantly Romanised town before there was a complete upheaval and relocation to a new site down in the valley of the Arroux at Autun.

On a hill just to the north of Mont Beuvray was another site surrounding the springs from which one of the major rivers of Northern France sprang, the Yonne. A Romano-Celtic temple was known in the woods, but otherwise no fieldwork had taken place; attention in the area had been totally dominated by Mont Beuvray. In the woodlands large numbers of fragments of Dressel 1 wine amphorae from Italy had been discovered. Were it not for the presence of a major oppidum to the south many would have imagined this to be one.

View of a mechanical digger excavating a trench at the source of the river Yonne.Research Questions

A combined programme of geophysics in the small packets of pasture (2006) and trial excavation (2007) were complicated by surveys of ceramics from tree-holes in the woodland and mole-hills in the pasture conducted by a team from the University of Mainz. The aim was determine the nature of activity associated with the temple complex at Les Sources de l'Yonne confirmed the presence of a large La Tène D2 and Augustan settlement contemporary with the oppidum of Bibracte.

The trial excavations in four areas demonstrated that within three there were multi-phase structural sequences, but all very compressed into a short time-span (La Tène D2 and Augustan), while the temple itself continued in usage until much later.

A plan of one of the excavations, showing a sequence of gullies and walls.International Collaboration and Sponsors

This is a collaborative project affiliated to, and supported by, the Centre archéologique européen at Bibracte, with funding from the British Academy, led jointly by John Creighton (University of Reading) Tom Moore (Durham University) in cooperation with a team from the Université Johannes Gutenberg Mainz and Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum. The work was also sponsored by the British Academy.

The student benefit

Undergraduates and postgraduates participated in the fieldwork. The international collaboration means that knowledge of the latest discoveries and research can be fed directly into teaching long before they appear in the Anglophone literature.


Creighton, J. and Moore, T. (2008) Sondages au site des Sources de l'Yonne, commune de Glux-en-Glenne. In: Bibracte: Rapport Annuel d'Activité 2007. Centre archéologique européen du Mont Beuvray, Glux-en-Glenne, pp210.

Creighton, J., Haupt, P., Klenner, I., Moore, T., Nouvel, P., Christophe, P. and Schönfelder, M. (2007) Prospectiones autor de Bibracte : Nouvelles méthodes et nouveaux résultats. Association Francaise pur l'Etude de l'Age du Fer, Bulletin, 25. pp. 17-20.

Creighton, J., Haupt, P., Klenner, I., Moore, T. and Schönfelder, M. (2007) Site des sources de l'Yonne, commune du Glux-en-Glenne. In: Bibracte: Rapport Annuel d'Activite 2006. Centre archéologique européen, Glux-en Glenne, pp. 193-201.

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